More Scammers Using Bogus Copyright Infringement Accusations To Get Their Way

from the it's-just-too-easy dept

Last Friday, we noted that scammers were picking up the success the entertainment industry was having with "pre-settlement" letters to accused file sharers, and using a similar tactic with phone calls, demanding money to avoid getting sued. We noted that it was only a matter of time until those scammers moved to email as well -- and, of course, it's already happened. TorrentFreak is reporting on how scammers are sending threatening letters pretending to be from MediaDefender, one of the firms who provides questionable evidence to the recording industry for its lawsuits. These emails include an attachment, which the email says is more data on what the recipient is accused of sharing on various sites -- but which is actually a virus. So it's not quite to the level of extorting money directly yet -- but that's likely only a matter of time, if it's not happening already.

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  1. identicon
    Dan Stevens, 10 Sep 2008 @ 1:26am

    If these pre-settlement letters become prevalent as any other spam I'd imagine it would reduce the effectiveness of genuine pre-settlement letters. People would just delete them assuming them to be spam, or they would get caught by spam filters. I wonder what affect this would have. I guess MediaDefender could resort to sending such letters by mail only (assuming the scammers aren't sending junk mail versions too) or they give up with pre-settlement letters and just go straight to a law suit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Mike Allen, 10 Sep 2008 @ 2:39am


    Until Scammers start sending bogus law suits through the post. Actually now this is out Id delete unread any such letter emailed or slow mail.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    RIAA, 10 Sep 2008 @ 5:15am

    Please send your payment now

    You have implied the use of our name without our permission (ref: to 'recording industry' and as the employers of the hired guns, uh, make that, investigative firm, MediaDefender). As such, you have violated our copyright and we are SUING you, unless of course you make three convenient payments of $12,000 to us by our deadline. As a convenience to you, we have received payment from an offender in the form of a cashier's check which is conveniently much more than what you owe. We'll send you this check, you'll cash it and send us the difference and we'll be square. You can keep $2.00 for your trouble.

    Thanks. Don't make us go nuclear on your a$$.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2008 @ 5:18am

    Re: Please send your payment now

    Good attempt, although I must point out that you lack the mandatory misspelled words.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Michael R, 10 Sep 2008 @ 8:37am

    slightly offtopic - Designers' Portfolio Rights and copyright infringement

    I am a designer for a design firm that maintains a portfolio of work. This portfolio of work includes examples of work for past clients. All clients we sign a contract with are notified of this and none have ever had a problem with their project ending up in our portfolio. We even offer as a service to NOT include work in the portfolio at steeply increased cost as agreeing to that hurts our company's ability to get further work based on our entire portfolio. No one has ever paid for or requested that service.

    I recently received a DMCA take down notice from the lawyer of a client (Client A) of one of our clients (Client B). Client A feels that the 4 conceptual 3D interior renderings we made for Client B and posted in our online portfolio violates their copyright and privacy. Client B delivered our work to Client A. Client B knew of our inclusion of all work performed in our portfolio. Client B states they never had an exclusion agreement with Client A.

    As a company we maintain that we have explicit right to show our work for the purposes of acquiring more work from other clients. My question to the Community is, am I violating this person's copyright if I accurately maintain my portfolio of past work?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Software Developer, 10 Sep 2008 @ 9:59am

    Re: slightly offtopic - Designers' Portfolio Rights and copyright infringement

    I am not a Lawyer, but it sounds like YOU hold the copyright. even if you didn't you should only be concerned with Client B, the one who signed the contract.

    you made it, you own the copyright. unless you signed something saying you give the rights to client B. in which case Client B needs to talk to you, not Client A because there is no way Client A would have the rights unless you sold them to Client B who then turned around and sold them to Client A.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    ipgrunt, 10 Sep 2008 @ 10:23am

    Reply to 5-OT

    B may very well be infringing on A, and by posting your work for B you may be vulnerable to A's claim of "indirect infringement." Your agreement with B does not protect you from infringement claims by a third party, as far as I know.

    Why don't you pull down those drawings until you have a better understanding of your legal liabilities in this matter?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2008 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Reply to 5-OT

    how does that work exactly if he is the one who created it and B is fine with his displays? I'd like to know, because I really don't understand that part

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Copyright Nweb, 10 Sep 2008 @ 1:39pm

    Copyrighted info...

    You created the work so you hold the copyright, unless you sell or other give it to someone else. Since you RETAINED some rights, the company who sold your work did not have THOSE rights to sell to the third party, therefore they don't own those rights.

    The right to display your work remains with you unless explicitedly granted.

    You want to talk to a lawyer regardless, because there are always loopholes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Another Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2008 @ 10:36pm

    Re: Michael R

    Not a lawyer here, so best get one. This is just my take on things as you've described:

    Even if you are sued via a loophole in the law, you never gave company B the right to sell Exclusive Rights to Company A. You can turn back on Company B for any losses they incur (but you may or may not win....) (I know, turning on your own clients feels kind of dirty?)

    Company B is in violation of copyright because they did not originally have permission to sell Exclusive Rights to your work (if you worded your contract with Company B properly). Even if they did so unintentionally due to improper wording in their own sales contracts with Company A.

    Before selling the product to Company A, Company B should have requested via written permission, or by contract, all rights to the 'product', in order to be able to transfer them to Company A.

    I would certainly pull the graphics/renderings temporarily until the matter is resolved, but clearly state(if you are) that this will be temporary until the matter is resolved and that in doing so, you are in no way recognizing their Exclusive Rights to that content.

    If the specific job being in your portfolio is that critical then pursue it, otherwise don't waste your money based on 'moral and ethical' reasons unless you have lots to spare.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    RIAA, 11 Sep 2008 @ 5:19am

    Re: Re: Please send your payment now

    We regrett that we didnt spel enuf wurds the way ewe wanted...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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